Thu, Dec 09, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Consumer group finds potentially harmful toothpaste

By Shelley Huang  /  Staff reporter

The Consumers’ Foundation yesterday said aluminum hydroxide and triclosan, chemicals that can lead to a series of health problems, were found in certain toothpaste brands, and urged the government to set limits on the legal levels for those substances in consumer products.

The watchdog group surveyed 27 brands of toothpaste, ranging in price from NT$26 to NT$189, sold at supermarkets, convenience stores and retail chains. The toothpastes were tested for certain chemicals as well as product labeling.

One brand, Japanese-made Sunstar Lark, which retails for NT$129, not only violates product labeling regulations, but was found to contain more than 1,000 parts per million of aluminum, the foundation said. However, it does not violate consumer product regulations because there are no standards for aluminum content in toothpaste.

Chen Chih-yi (陳智義), foundation secretary-general, said triclosan, calcium carbonate, magnesium carbonate, aluminum hydroxide and titanium dioxide were commonly found in consumer products such as toothpaste. However, while certain chemicals have effective teeth-cleaning properties, others, such as aluminum, have been gaining the attention of experts after studies have been shown to possibly have harmful effects on human health.

The foundation said 12 brands of toothpaste were in violation of the Commodity Labeling Act (商品標示法) over inadequate Chinese-language labeling, inconsistencies between content and ingredient labeling and lack of warning labels.

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